New Portfolio – Meatball

pew pew

Today I’ve started documenting my past projects to be incorporated into a new portfolio section! The first project to get added to the list is one of my first ever: meatball! If you click on the link, you’ll find a clear and distinct page illustrating what Meatball is. Here, I will go on a nostalgic journey through my past.

Well, meatball’s first inception began not long after my very first Hello World program in C++.

I recall being around 10 years old when I attended an iD Tech Camp at MIT Cambridge, MA. Although it was called a different name back then. I still remember the IDE, Metrowerks Codewarrior! At that time I was learning general I/O, writing my first Text RPG in CPP, playing Icy Tower with my new computer buds, and even controlling robotic servos to create a dancing robot! *chuckles*. But, it wasn’t too far after that, where I was reaching for the stars.

Meatball is one of those projects that has stayed alongside me during my life journey, and it has an interesting back story.

Probably around the time I was 12 or 13 years old, I found a Super Mario World clone for PC online. This game was fun, and had an online forum where users could talk to the game’s developer, Florian Richter (fluxxy). While checking out the game’s directory, I noticed how I could modify saved game files to do unintended things (my 1st exploit). For example, I could give myself 99 lives, or teleport to a level that was currently inaccessible in the game. This was the very first time I found myself able to hack someone’s video game. I was very excited and proud of myself.

I showed Fluxxy my program that could bestow such cheats to his game. Fluxxy was impressed by me, and took me under his wing. I expressed my interest in becoming able to code 2d-style video games, and had a premise for a game. He invited me to collaborate together on the project.

During those early days, I started getting on board with version control software. At first, it was CVS, but that quickly turned into Subversion and TortoiseSVN. Oh, version control was so great. I loved what was possible through it. During those times, I was learning how an engine API was designed, collision detection techniques, Camera coordinates vs. screen coordinates, File parsing, and more. All the while, I would help fix bugs we found (and probably made several along the way! haha), coded my own distinct parts of the game, made cheezy graphics in MS-Paint, etc. I recall being heavily inspired by the hit Arcade shoot ’em up series called Metal Slug.

But the project muddled away, and for many years was forgotten. Fluxxy went on his own and later released Super Maryo Chronicles, yet another Mario clone with all new coding style, engine, and features. I still remain grateful for his guidance during those early days of mine.

Flash forward even further, and one day I was looking at one of my backup hard drives, and found an ol’ meatball there. I was convinced it wasn’t the newest version of the source code, but it was all I had left. I ended up tinkering with it from time to time ever since.

People have come and gone in and out of the project along the way. People I’ve never met in my life (laughs), college classmates, ex-girlfriend, family members. I have no idea who made the current Meatball Logo (laughs again). it’s an interesting project for me like no other.

I could go on and on about nostalgia here, but I’ll say one last thing. One of the first 2d platforming coding implementations I remember learning was from the late Florian Hufsky, through his infamous tutorial series titled jnrdev. Thank you Florian for that beautiful tutorial series.

Lastly, know that meatball will continue to be developed and journey with me through life, and will most definitely in fact be released for your enjoyment some day. 🙂